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Visions of Annihilation

The Ustasha Regime and the Cultural Politics of Fascism, 1941–1945

Rory Yeomans

Publication Year: 2013

The fascist Ustasha regime and its militias carried out a ruthless campaign of ethnic cleansing that killed an estimated half million Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies, and ended only with the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II. In Visions of Annihilation, Rory Yeomans analyzes the Ustasha movement’s use of culture to appeal to radical nationalist sentiments and legitimize its genocidal policies. He shows how the movement attempted to mobilize poets, novelists, filmmakers, visual artists, and intellectuals as purveyors of propaganda and visionaries of a utopian society. Yeomans chronicles the foundations of the movement, its key actors and ideologies, and reveals the unique conditions present in interwar Croatia that led to the rise of fascism.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press


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pp. 4-4


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

Visions of Annihilation is a case study in the cultural politics of mass murder. It aims to demonstrate how one European fascist movement, the Croatian Ustasha regime, used popular culture as well as ideas of national regeneration to legitimize its rule and, in particular, its campaign of mass murder ...

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pp. 1-28

On 8 September 1942, the third Zagreb economic and trade exhibition in the Independent State of Croatia was officially opened. The press portrayed it as an unparalleled triumph for the young state: newly constructed trams took visitors to the entrance of the Zagreb fairground; ...

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Chapter 1. The Generation of Struggle: Ustasha Students and the Construction of a New Elite

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pp. 29-80

On 23 April 1941 eleven hundred student and high school members of the Ustasha movement gathered in the courtyard of the main university building. Led by the commander of the Ustasha University Center, Zdenko Blažeković, these “steeliest of Ustasha warriors,” with the Croatian tricolor on their arms, ...

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Chapter 2. Annihilate the Old! The Cult of Youth and the Problem of National Regeneration

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pp. 81-125

While being an Ustasha meant many things, above all, it meant being young. Youth, dynamism, and energy were at the center of the Ustasha movement’s ideology and worldview. As Ustaška Mladež, the Ustasha Youth journal, commented in June 1942: “To be an Ustasha means to be eternally young and eternally a warrior.” ...

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Chapter 3. Merciless Warriors and Militant Heroines: Making a New Ustasha Man and Woman

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pp. 126-167

In December 1941 Maca Minić, a female Ustasha Youth leader, attempted to answer two questions: What would the role of women in the new state be, and what part would the Ustasha movement play in women’s lives? As Mimić pointed out, since the movement had come to power, young women had been gathered into the organization, ...


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pp. 168-177

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Chapter 4. Social Justice and the Campaign for Taste: Cultural Values after the Revolution of Blood

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pp. 178-235

We were confronted with a wasteland and had to build everything from the ground up.” So recalled the regional leader of Prigorje Marko Lamešić regarding the task confronting the Ustasha movement immediately after it came to power. Speaking at an Ustasha rally in June 1942, Lamešić, standing on a speaker’s platform ...

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Chapter 5. Between Annihilation and Regeneration: Literature, Language, and National Revolution

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pp. 236-294

On 5 December 1941, in the cultural pages of Hrvatski narod, the novelist Zlatko Milković drew attention to a matinee performance at the Croatian National Theater of readings of the works of the younger generation of poets by famous Croatian actors and actresses, students from the acting school, and the poets themselves. ...

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Chapter 6. “An Unceasing Sea of Blood and Victims”: The Cultural Politics of Martyrdom and Moral Rebirth

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pp. 295-344

Writing in May 1941, Ivan Šarić, bishop of Sarajevo, nostalgically recollected his clandestine meetings with Ustashas in South America in the 1930s. He recalled the Ustashas he had met as “good and self-sacrificing believers, men of God and the nation.” For their part, he wrote, the Ustashas were attached to their priestly followers. ...

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pp. 345-365

By the end of 1944, an apocalyptic spirit reigned in the capital. The Independent State of Croatia was close to collapse, and in fact, the control of the Ustasha regime throughout the state was so limited that the Poglavnik earned himself the dubious sobriquet the “Mayor of Zagreb.” As the state deteriorated, ...


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pp. 365-416


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pp. 417-436


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pp. 437-446

E-ISBN-13: 9780822977933
E-ISBN-10: 0822977931
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822961925
Print-ISBN-10: 082296192X

Page Count: 488
Illustrations: 34 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 867738690
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Visions of Annihilation

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Subject Headings

  • Ustaša, hrvatska revolucionarna organizacija.
  • Croatia -- History -- 1918-1945.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Croatia.
  • Croatia -- Politics and government -- 1918-1945.
  • Nationalism -- Croatia -- History -- 20th century.
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